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Nonna Mela Jumps to Stakes Company and Cruises in G2 Adirondack

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Coming off a lengthy maiden victory, Nonna Mela easily handled the jump to stakes company for an impressive win in the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course on Friday.

The 100th running of the Adirondack had originally been scheduled for last Saturday, but was one of six races not run due to severe thunderstorms that struck the area.

Nonna Mela raced closest to pacesetter Silvertoni through sharp fractions of 21.81 and 45.13 seconds and rallied to take command into the stretch, pulling away under Javier Castellano to score by six lengths.

Silvertoni continued on to be clearly second best over Olive Branch, who edged 3-2 favorite Libby’s Tail for third.

“I liked the way she broke from the gate,” said Castellano, who captured his first Adirondack. “It was a great performance. There was a lot of speed out of the gate, but she broke sharp and put me in a good position. I moved her a little outside, I didn’t want to get stuck on the rail. That was the key to win the race. When I saw that Silvertoni tried to dictate the pace and go to the lead, I didn’t want to go too fast. My filly didn’t have to be on the lead. She had control in the race and finished strong. I really liked the way she did it.”

Nonna Mela ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.83 seconds, and upped her record to two wins from three starts. The daughter of Arch, trained by Todd Pletcher, earned $120,000 for St. Elias Stable. She returned $19.80 for a $2 win bet.

“It’s worked out well,” said Pletcher, now a four-time Adirondack winner. “Vinnie and Teresa [Viola, owners of St. Elias] made the decision to send all of these babies early to Palm Beach Downs. They all got started there and, in the case of Bode’s Dream, she broke her maiden at Gulfstream and then won the Astoria [June 9 at Belmont]. Then Sweet Loretta broke her maiden at Monmouth and won the [Grade 3] Schuylerville, and now this filly has done the same thing. I thought Javier gave her a very clever ride today. We weren’t completely surprised [by the effort], although this was a pretty dominating performance really.”

The order of finish was completed by Ever So Clever, Romantic Music and Dial Me.

No one hit the Pick 6, resulting in a carryover of $59,744 for Saturday’s program highlighted by a Grade 1 doubleheader of the Alabama Stakes and the rescheduled Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap.

Adirondack (G2) Quotes

Todd Pletcher, winning trainer of Nonna Mela (No. 2): “It’s worked out well. Vinnie and Teresa [Viola, owners of St. Elias Stable] made the decision to send all of these babies early to Palm Beach Downs. They all got started there and, in the case of Bode’s Dream, she broke her maiden at Gulfstream and then won the Astoria [at Belmont on June 9], and then Sweet Loretta broke her maiden at Monmouth and won the [Grade 3] Schuylerville and now this filly has done the same thing. So it’s worked out well, it’s paid dividends getting them in there early and having a little experience leading into races like this.”

On the rescheduling of the race:

“I wasn’t sure how she would’ve handled the track that day, so that was a question mark. The condition of the track and how it turned out, it kind of felt good when they did cancel. She had a really good week leading into this. We decided not to breeze her back, it was a little too close to try to squeeze a breeze in. I thought Javier [Castellano] gave her a very clever ride today. We felt like she could’ve been close but we didn’t want to get her out of her comfort zone. When those two [Libby’s Tail, No. 7, and Silvertoni, No. 6] came across the track, he decided to ease back and pop back outside of them and it turned out to be a smart move.”

“I thought one of her works here was really good and the other one I thought was just OK. The track here’s been a little quirky and we felt like she showed us enough to give it a try. We weren’t completely surprised [by the effort], although this was a pretty dominating performance, really.”

Javier Castellano winning jockey aboard Nonna Mela (No. 2): “I liked the way she broke from the gate. It was a great performance. There was a lot of speed out of the gate, but she broke sharp and put me in a good position. I moved her a little outside, I didn’t want to get stuck on the rail. That was the key to win the race.”

“When I saw that Silvertoni tried to dictate the pace and go to the lead, I didn’t want to go too fast. My filly didn’t have to be on the lead. She had control in the race and finished strong. I really liked the way she did it.”

NYRA

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